Supporting the fight against blood cancer this Volunteers’ Week

31 May 2019

A huge thank you to all our amazing volunteers up and down the country for supporting the fight against blood cancer.

This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) we take the opportunity to reflect on their amazing achievements including; hosting over 200 registration events, signing-up over 6,000 new potential lifesavers and raising £50,000 to help us register even more lifesavers-in-waiting.

Meet Ana

Ana Rasheed, 29, from Hounslow, has been volunteering with us since 2018 and her main inspiration is her father, Syed Ali Rasheed, 59, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January 2017.

Only one in three people with a blood cancer (and in need of a transplant) will find a matching blood stem cell donor within their own family, so the remaining need to rely on a complete stranger. Thankfully, Syed received a bone marrow transplant from his sister.

Ana said: “I decided that DKMS was a charity I really wanted to get involved with. I began thinking what could I do to help – how could I help register more blood stem cell donors, and raise awareness of blood cancer and blood disorders? People need to understand what DKMS does, and how you can contribute to the fight against blood cancer by becoming a donor and potentially saving someone’s life.”

 

West Midlands Lifesaver

Our West Midlands Volunteer Hub has organised over 100 registration events and, thanks to our dedicated volunteers, Randeep Dhillon Singh, 34, registered last November.

In February this year, Randeep received an important call saying he’d been identified as a match for someone. A few months later he donated his blood stem cells to a complete stranger by a peripheral blood stem cell collection.

It was later revealed that he was a match for a 30 year old in America. Speaking of this experience, Randeep said: ʺThe registration process was really straightforward and to be identified as someone’s potential lifesaver and to have the chance to save their life is just such an incredible moment. I enjoyed the whole experience and would do it all over again.

ʺI feel so happy that I had a chance to help give someone a second chance at life. We all have ways to help people and when we get a chance like this, we need to take the opportunity with both hands.”

Volunteering in memory

The Bedfordshire volunteer hub was initially set up by Bedford resident Poonam Chand, in May 2018. Since then Poonam and a group of passionate volunteers, including Dipali Sutharsan, have registered over 1,000 people.

Dipali was keen to help support the fight against blood cancer after losing her husband Dr Sutharsan Raju, a consultant psychiatrist and father of nine-year-old twins, to leukaemia last summer. She said: “Please take the first step and get yourself registered with DKMS and try and prevent another family from suffering the devastating loss of a loved one.”

Meet our new volunteers

Naomi was identified as someone’s perfect match in November 2018 after being a lifesaver-in-waiting for almost 10 years.

After donating her blood stem cells to a complete stranger, Naomi set up a volunteer hub in Hereford to encourage more potential blood stem cell donors to join.

Steven was inspired to get involved after realising how easy the first step was to become a potential lifesaver. Soon after registering Steven set up a volunteer hub in Scotland.

How you can help

Shafia Begam, Senior Volunteer Manager said: “Volunteers’ Week is a great opportunity for us to thank all our volunteers. We couldn’t do the work we do without them - their commitment to helping us register more potential blood stem cell donors is absolutely incredible.”

Here's a video from Peter McCleave thanking our volunteers:

If you have been inspired to help the fight against blood cancer find out more about volunteering for us.

If you are aged 17-55 and in general good health take the first step and become a lifesaver-in-waiting - register for your home swab kit today.